Bier Markt

28 Oct

I tend to avoid the big flashy restaurants… especially in the ones in the downtown core. Part of me is always leery. When your main clientele is tourists and the business crowd – simply by location alone – there is a good chance that the food is not necessarily up to par with the cost associated to the meal. Now, I am always willing to be proven wrong so when I had a chance to try Bier Markt for the first time recently, I went in with an open mind.

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For the uninformed, Bier Markt is a Toronto chain of restaurants that came to Montreal and took over the old Queue de Cheval location in front of the Bell Centre. Bier Markt’s claim to fame is the ridiculous amount of beers they have available – over 150 beers from 30 different countries. The selection is extremely varied and quite good. The beer menu is nicely elaborate. It does a great job of categorizing and describing each beer to help with selection. The prices vary widely though which is a bit strange. I also appreciated that the food menu provides recommendations with pairing for each dish. For a restaurant like this, that detail is essential and provides a nice way to try new beers.

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Foodwise, the menu is a mixture of beer garden and classic bar/pub fare. My friends and I went for three starters initially. First up was the French onion soup au gratin with caramelized onions, house veal stock, toasted bread and Gruyère cheese. Personally I did not try it but the response from my friends was good – not great.

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Next was the baked Brie with Granny Smith apples, lingonberry jam, roasted pecans, pickles and baguette crisps. The jam was nice but once again, overall the dish was good, not great. The portion size was only not that great considering its cost either.

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The final entree was the baked crab dip – wild Canadian rock crab, white cheddar, cream cheese, Old Bay spices and toasted house flatbread. This was a more interesting and well done dish. Very creamy with nice pieces of meaty crab within. Main issue once again though was the size relative to the price. Very limited amount of flatbread and frankly, this appetizer was barely sufficient for me much less as a dish to share – which at its price point, it needs to be.

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Prior to the description of the mains, I will just take a moment to discuss the service. Now, for the most part, I am pretty relaxed about service in general – I simply want timely, friendly with a good handle of the menu. However, there are a few things that are BIG no-nos for me. One of them is very simple – you should never serve the next course without clearing the table first. During our meal, not only was that done but that was after all the empty dishes were left in front of us for about 20 minutes before serving. On top of that, the waitresses serving our table had no clue who had which main so the second course became a awkward and complicated dance of simultaneously removing, moving temporary around and serving dishes. And then, the same thing was repeated at dessert time later on! With the number of waitresses working around us, these were big red flags about the quality of service.

Back to the food now. The first main was the Merchant burger – 10 oz. Wagyu beef burger, smoked bacon, charred red onion, vine-ripe tomato, iceberg lettuce, “Bier 58” sauce, toasted bun with house frites. A good sized burger – a little overcooked for my liking but still flavourful. A solid burger but again for its price, more was hoped for.

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I personally went with the Chicken ABT – fresh chargrilled chicken breast, avocado, crisp smoked bacon, vine-ripe tomato, shaved iceberg lettuce and honey Dijon aioli in a Portuguese roll served with fries. The sandwich was good but somehow left me underwhelmed and wishing I had ordering something else. Some extra aioli and avocado may have helped to provide more kick but otherwise I felt the sandwich lacked pop. The fries were nice and crisp at least – very classic bistro style.

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The final main was the smoked pork back ribs which are spice-rubbed and smoked for 6 hours, served with a golden BBQ sauce, fries and a red cabbage & caraway slaw. The ribs were nice and tender but because the sauce needed to be added by the client, they were a little dry. The BBQ sauce was a necessity to add, not a choice.

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The final dish we ordered was the waffle ice cream sandwich – house-baked chocolate waffles served warm with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. Best thing we had all night – creative, chocolatey and rich. Always nice to end a meal on a positive.

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In the end, Bier Markt left me cold. The beer selection was nice and varied – definitely the draw to coming back. However, the food was uninspiring and simply okay. The service was poor. Okay food can be acceptable at certain times but not when my personal bill was 80$ without tip. At that price, there are a heck of a lot better options I can enjoy. Bier Markt is a great happy hour spot for excellent beer but not a worthwhile dining option.

Cheers!

Bier Markt
1221 René-Lévesque Ouest
514 864 7575

Bier Markt Montréal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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